Poems of the Week

Strange Footprint

by Julia Griffin

“Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first living robots …
The source of the cells [Xenopus laevis] led the scientists to call their creations ‘xenobots’. …
[R]esearchers describe how … [s]ome crept along in straight lines, while others looped around in circles or teamed up with others as they moved around. …
Thomas Douglas, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said: ‘ … difficult questions could arise about whether these xenobots should be classified as living creatures or machines.’”
The Guardian

They live ten days, if that is what they do,
Or else their batteries endure that long.
Some have two “legs.” Some have a hole, right through
Their “hearts.” Without a colony or song,

How can they have a sense of self or group?
Is it by choice they creep along the ground
In a straight line, or singly loop the loop,
Or join with others as they move around?

They are not frogs. Let’s say they simply are,
And pray they’ll clean our world and eat our waste
Before the time (let’s pray it’s very far)
When really awkward questions must be faced.